Stress Causing Pain? 3 Things Your Doctor CAN’T Do
Stress makes everything—especially pain—worse. Unfortunately, medical science and a doctor’s skill can only take you so far. We can show you the water, but it’s up to you to drink.
How Stress Impacts Health
Stress increases brain activity, making your nervous system more sensitive, and tightens the brain’s blood vessels. It’s often a subtle culprit to chronic pain, but it’s manageable when you’re aware of your stressors.
Chronic stress—physical, mental, or emotional—forces the body into survival mode. Your adrenal glands atop each kidney constantly release stress hormones, which inhibit the gland’s proper functioning. That affects other glands and organs as well.
Anything that runs at full speed for long periods is bound to overheat and eventually break down; your body’s stress response is no different. Even the most minor problems—like a traffic jam or a bad day at work—can affect your physical and mental health. Consistently high levels of big and small stressors lead to:
- An overworked endocrine system that can’t keep up with high-stress demands
- Too much effort required of the heart
- Cravings for unhealthy and damaging foods
- Higher risk of prediabetes, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome
- Muscle tension, headaches, and back pain
- Menstrual irregularities (or your period stops completely)
- An overwhelmed immune system
- Increased risk for chronic stomach pains and inflammatory bowel disease
- Memory loss and cognitive decline
Stress is common in this chaos-driven world. It’s essential to learn ways of coping with stressors, primarily if it’s affecting your health and quality of life. Pain lowers your tolerance and kicks you in the teeth if left unaddressed.
I know it’s tough to change behaviors and find new coping mechanisms, but you don’t have to do it alone. Your doctor can help you find practices that work with your schedule, preferences, goals, and personal situation; however, there are a few things doctors can’t do for you when it comes to treating stress-induced pain.
We Can’t Do the Hardest Work
The hardest part of relieving stress-caused pain is what you do at home and in the privacy of your thoughts. That doesn’t mean your doctor can’t help you discover new coping mechanisms and support to reach your goals. It means we can’t change the way you think about and deal with your troubled teen, wandering spouse, or terrible boss. As a chiropractor, I can help relieve some of the tension in your spine, giving your internal body a fighting chance to regulate stress’s chemical and hormonal response. I’m able to provide you with a wealth of information about coping techniques, and I have dozens of resources at your disposal. The rest is up to you
We Can’t Make Promises About a Cure
Doctors aren’t in the habit of making promises, especially in medical treatments. I can’t and won’t promise spinal manipulation will relieve your neck pain. It probably will if you follow treatment protocols, but that’s not a promise I can keep. As your chiropractor, I can only promise to provide you with all the necessary tools to improve your health and quality of life.
We Can’t Make it Stop Without Time
As much as we wish it were different, doctors know there’s no magic touch or cure-all pill. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for stress-induced pain because, like everything else about you, each case is unique. We’re doctors, but we’re also whole humans bound by Time. Good health doesn’t happen overnight. With patience, perseverance, and commitment, a good doctor can help you through the long-haul journey.
If you’d like to learn more about how we treat chronic pain at Slovin Chiropractic Center, let’s have a chat! Our doctors stand ready to help you take the next step to a healthier life.
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Healthline: The Effects of Stress on Your Body
Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials: 7 Strange Things Stress Can Do to Your Body
EXCLI Journal: Experimental and Clinical Sciences: The Impact of Stress on Body Function: A Review